This summer we went on a 10 day tour of England and Scotland and our first stop was Cambridge. Here’s some information about Cambridge highlights: what to see, where to eat and where to stay.
Cambridge has a nice small town feel to it. The city centre is compact, you can easily walk everywhere. It’s funny, I always thought Cambridge and Oxford would be very similar as they are both important university cities but they are so different. If you want to visit the universities and can only visit one of the two then I’d definitely go to Oxford. Where Oxford is very impressive and offers so many historic buildings where ever you look Cambridge feels rather laid-back and its centre is quite modern.
Punting in Cambridge
Having said that I have to add that I really did like Cambridge. And if you want to go punting then this is the place to go. It does get really crowded on river Cam so it won’t be particularly romantic but it is relaxing and a lot of fun. I chose a company called Let’s Go Punting for our punting tour and can recommend it: The tour lasted about 45 minutes and our chauffeur was really informative and funny. The tour we took was a shared tour, I think there were 12 of us in the same boat and it cost us £12 per person – book online to get it on this price, otherwise you’ll pay £18.
Restaurants in Cambridge
When we travel in England we usually have something less expensive for lunch and then choose a “nicer” (not a high end though) restaurant for dinner. We often end up having a JD Wetherspoon pub chain lunch because it’s simply amazing value for money. There are JD restaurants in every city in the UK so you’ll always find one 🙂
For dinner we tried two restaurants that turned out to be absolutely brilliant:
Restaurant Smokeworks is an American style BBQ restaurant so you can expect the menu to be heavily focused on meat. The service was fantastic and they had great little peculiarities that I really liked. When we got there the place was full. No worries, they took our phone number and promised to send us a text when a table would be available. That worked out very well: We had a drink at a famous pub called the Eagle which is really close to the restaurant and got the text just as we were finishing our pints.
Another great little feature was the switch that they have at tables. Whenever you want service you just flick the switch and a waiter will come to you. Every restaurant should have one!
For our dinner we chose “The Works” which is a shared platter of food. It costs £27 and contains a rack of pork ribs, a hamburger, chicken wings, sausage, french fries, beans and pickles. It was so delicious and perfect for two.
The Clarendon Arms
We also had dinner at a traditional pub restaurant called The Clarendon Arms. The service again was very friendly and food was wonderful, even the simple starter of bread and olives was absolutely delicious.
The university of Cambridge
A visit to at least one of the colleges is obviously a must in Cambridge and we chose to visit two: King’s College and St John’s College.
Visiting colleges in Cambridge was a bit different to visiting the ones in Oxford. In Oxford you get access at least to the dining hall and chapel, probably also to some staircases or other areas. In Cambridge though you mainly got to see just the grounds, and the chapel if you’re lucky and that was a bit disappointing.
The buildings were stunning of course and the King’s College Chapel was beautiful. The entry fee to King’s College was £9 per person.
I think St John’s College was the prettiest of these two colleges we visited. The famous Bridge of Sighs is in St John’s College.
Hotel in Cambridge
Hotels are quite expensive in Cambridge and we were on a budget so we chose to stay at a Travelodge hotel: Travelodge Cambridge Newmarket Road. The price for two nights was just £98. It’s not in the city centre but it’s a 15 – 20 minute walk so not too far away. There’s also a bus stop just outside the hotel so we took a bus (or even taxi which is almost the same price as two people riding the bus) a couple of times.
Have fun in Cambridge! 🙂